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Rivals Disrupt Jacob Zuma’s Speech on South African Economy

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South AFrica

JOHANNESBURG — Weakened by scandal and policy missteps, South Africa’s president, Jacob G. Zuma, pledged in a state of the nation address on Thursday to revive the country’s economy and cut excessive spending. But the speech was delayed and repeatedly interrupted by rivals who angrily demanded his resignation.

In a sober address that experts had considered critical to shoring up his presidency, Mr. Zuma focused largely on the stagnant economy, and on repairing some of the recent damage caused by what some see as his mishandling of the finance ministry.

Analysts say that South Africa’s economy, Africa’s second largest and its most sophisticated, could slip into a recession because of government mismanagement, severe drought and the economic slowdown in China.

Jacob Zuma, South African Leader, to Repay Part of Money Spent on His HomeFEB. 3, 2016
Acknowledging that the country’s government debt was at risk of being downgraded to junk status, Mr. Zuma highlighted measures — including policies to facilitate investment, streamline state enterprises and pursue nuclear energy — that were clearly designed to fend off such a move by credit agencies.

Mr. Zuma did not directly address a longstanding spending scandal involving his private residence that has now reached the nation’s highest court. Yet Mr. Zuma seemed to be trying to assuage public anger over the issue by announcing steps to cut unnecessary government spending.

Mr. Zuma, in his ninth state of the nation address since taking power in 2009, faced the country and Parliament more humbled that he has ever been. In the days leading up to the address, Mr. Zuma, who has typically handled his critics by mocking them, made a point of listening to South Africans: meeting with business leaders in Cape Town and talking to drivers and customers at a taxi stand in Pretoria.

During Mr. Zuma’s address on Thursday, opposition lawmakers demanded that he explain his firing in December of a well-respected finance minister who had clashed with one of Mr. Zuma’s closest allies, and replacing him with a little-known lawmaker. It was a decision that further eroded investors’ confidence in the country’s economy and the health of its institutions.

Mr. Zuma reversed himself a few days after the initial firing by firing the new minister and reappointing a former finance minister.

The reversal, which further weakened the South African currency, the rand, and placed the nation at greater risk of a credit downgrade, is believed to have eroded Mr. Zuma’s standing within his own party, the African National Congress, and in business circles close to it.

On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court, the nation’s highest, heard arguments from two opposition party lawyers that Mr. Zuma had acted illegally by defying an order to pay back part of expensive upgrades to his private home in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal Province. The court has yet to rule on the case, which for many has come to symbolize widespread corruption inside the A.N.C., the party that has held power since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Mr. Zuma’s lawyers said in court that he was prepared to repay part of the money, reversing years of refusals to do so. During last year’s address, a fight broke out between security guards and rivals who demanded that Mr. Zuma “pay back the money.”

But opposition parties are now seeking a court ruling that the president violated the Constitution, in a bid to start impeachment proceedings against him. Any impeachment attempt would likely fail, given Mr. Zuma’s control of Parliament, but it could hurt his party in important municipal elections later this year.

Before Mr. Zuma’s speech on Thursday, Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said in a statement that “South Africa continues to suffer from a leadership crisis, as the president hops from one scandal to the next, all to protect himself and his cronies.”

“The president should himself expedite the process of his removal from office by doing the honorable thing and resigning,” Mr. Maimane said.

Members of the second-largest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, repeatedly interrupted Mr. Zuma’s speech, delaying its start by nearly an hour.

“Zuma is no longer a president that deserves the respect from anyone,” the party’s leader, Julius Malema, yelled as he and his members were eventually expelled from the parliamentary chamber.

“He has stolen from us, he has corrupted the economy of South Africa, he has made this country a joke and after that, he has laughed at us.”

The New York Times

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

#EndSARS: Here is the Complete Speech of President Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

The Complete Speech of President Muhammadu Buhari

Following the Lekki Massacre, president Muhammadu Buhari delivered the much-awaited speech. However, the speech failed to touch on the massacre or the people affected, infuriating millions of Nigerian youths that have committed so much to the struggle and lost so much.

Below is the complete speech.

“Fellow Nigerians,

It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.

As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.

On approving the termination of SARS I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.

Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.

The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a peace-maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.

All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary.

Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.

The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens, is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.

On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the well being and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths, and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:

a. paying 3-months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small- and medium- enterprises
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders

These are in addition to many other initiatives such as:

a. Farmermoni,
b. Tradermoni,
c. Marketmoni,
d. N-Power,
e. N-Tech and
f. N-Agro.

No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.

With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force.

The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.

In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.

Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.

We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.

We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.

But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.

To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgement and making hasty pronouncements.

In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.

For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.

I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions.

Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.

And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law-abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect.

Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.

I would like to thank those State Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint.

I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.

This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.

Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Government

Passport, Visa Trend as Nigerian Youths Look to Move Out En masse Following Disappointing Presidential Speech

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international-passport

Passport and Visa Trend on Twitter Following Disappointing Presidential Speech

Nigerian youths have started looking for a way to exit the country following a disappointing Presidential speech after security operatives opened fire on peaceful protesters on October 20, 2020 at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria.

The youths, who have been protesting and demanding an end to the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), had assembled at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 to sustain their protest before the commencement of a 24-hour curfew declared by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

However, shortly after they sang the national anthem, they were attacked by security operatives in one of the goriest scenes ever witnessed in the country. Despite calls for prosecution of perpetrators by both international and local civil rights organisations, the Federal Government has denied the occurrence even when Sanwo-Olu had earlier said forces beyond his control had made dark notes of history in the state.

This coupled with President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to acknowledge the killings and occurrence in his speech on Thursday, negatively affected the youths that for the first time went all out to demand a change in one voice.

Feeling dejected with the situation and most importantly hopeless about the future, they were forced to start seeking an exit from an uncertain future to a more predictable economy govern by sane people.

Since the failed presidential speech, Passport and Visa have been trending on Twitter as Nigerian youths now shift their focus to traveling out of Nigeria, a nation expected to plunge into the second economic recession in four years in the third quarter under President Muhammadu Buhari.

The inflation rate increased by 13.71 percent in September with the nation’s unemployment rate at 27.1 percent or 21.8 million amid rising economic uncertainties, weak foreign reserves and a currency that has been devalued twice this year.

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#EndSARS Protesters Kill as Security Operatives Open Fire at Lekki Toll Gate

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Security Operatives Open Fire on #EndSARS Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate

Nigerian security operatives deployed to Lekki Toll Gate following the announcement of a 24-hour curfew by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, opened fire on peaceful protesters on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

According to numerous accounts of protesters, the army started shooting even before the curfew announced to commence by 9 pm on Tuesday.

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